Fear, Loathing, & DIY

Middle class white lady problems, or how buying a home has been surprisingly degrading

October 19, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments

I’m speaking in hyperbole, but maybe not.

As I’ve grown older I’ve experienced, or have been more keenly aware of, all the misogyny that one faces during the course of her life. I’ve been in offices where women sabotage other women, I’ve been in interviews where I’ve had to justify publishing woman writers as not a form of affirmative action but common sense, I’ve answered IRS queries to NANO Fiction where I’ve had to explain that a woman’s body is not inherently pornographic, I’ve been in classrooms where the instructor never taught women’s work, been equals to men who never saw me so, and been a supervisor to men who never saw me as that either–this is just a sampling of instances that doesn’t include the subversive kind of sexism that happens every day. Male chauvinism is an inescapable smog that one has to walk through on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s light and misty, and other times–thick and foggy and leaves a sort of residue you want to wash off, only to have to go outside and walk in it again. It’s everywhere and most of the time I can easily brush things off.

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Design Blog Photos (or pictures of really pointless knick-knacks)

July 15, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I go to a blog, click a link to a house tour, and then find that the tour is full of  close-up shots of the top of one book shelf, or side table, or a corner of desk–small areas that are albeit well composed in a photograph, but in no way show what the space as a whole looks like.

What is the purpose of these shots? Is it to show that the photographer or homeowner really likes that one small area? Or are we to believe that because this one small space looks cute in a picture, that this home is suddenly a mecca of well designed cute shit?

Or is it that the people who submitted their homes to a house tour are so in love with themselves and their things that they think we really want to see a bunch of statement necklaces and some unframed pictures?

House tours on design blogs are obviously for the proud, middle class, showy few that make up my generation. I get this. I get this as I type these things into my own stupid blog, but can we not expect more? Can these folks reign it in just a little? Can we not ask our selves why people need to see the corner of this room? And then reply with: They don’t. They really don’t.

Restored! Hanging Rattan Chair

March 21, 2015 by Kirby | 1 Comment


This guy used to be my grandfather’s. I remember sitting in it reading books as a kid when he had it on their upstairs balcony. It was the perfect cocoon for a kid! And I could never climb out of it without falling or hurting myself! It was great! Then for the longest time it was stored in their barn–which is more like a shed but significantly larger. So of course, I took it this winter when I was home.  The chair was really dry though and the frame, orange from rust. It needed a lot of help, and I was just the unemployed person to help it.

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Recovered Chair with Kilim Rug/Pillow Case

February 16, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments

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This chair is a grad school hand-me-down (Thanks Jessica Richardson and Tessa Fontaine!) but I really loved the shape so when I moved, I didn’t continue the chain. (Sorry new MFA bros!) I did, however, pass on my Ektorp sofa bed, which I am sure will be passed down to many new, scared, Tuscaloosians for years to come.

Anyway, this guy was covered in some CLASSIC avocado vinyl. The cats loved it, but it stuck to my thighs and butt during long sitting sessions, and I’m sure heightened my ability to produce lots of sweat in that region on warm or nervous days. It needed to be recovered and I just happened to have purchased a cheap staple gun recently, so now was the perfect time to do it. 

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Night Craft: Vintage Liquor Bottles from Mexico (AKA Trash I Couldn’t Throw Away)

February 1, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments

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These bottles were souvenirs from a trip to Mexico my grandparents took long long ago. My mother found them in an old cabinet with (from the smell) rancid flavored liquor (cherry and mint, represent!) still in them. The labels and shape were so pretty though I couldn’t have her throw them away. So until one or both breaks, or I get tired of them, they will be candle holders. And pretty ones at that.

I’m already imagining itus inducing candle light enchilada dinners with my boo! Or maybe a sexy buffet of tacos del trompo? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Lil’ Dresser Turned Media Console Up-do

January 19, 2015 by Kirby | 2 Comments

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Before: pale blue and knobless // After: sandy and knoby

I have too much time on my hands! And I’m not writing anything productive at all! I am sure my thesis will get done, eventually. Until then, I have spent my hours piddling away in my apartment, applying for jobs, and doing worthless/pointless projects. It’s so #design #basic in here. I can’t even stand it. BUT I KEEP DOIN’ IT.

Anyway here is a little dresser I stole from my mom’s garage.

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Ye Olde Ikea Hack: Adding Feet to a Kallax

January 18, 2015 by Kirby | 0 comments

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I’m not going to write about how to put feet on this thing. That’s pretty self explanatory (you buy feet–I picked these Pine Taper Buns in 4″–and brackets, you paint them then put them on). I just wanted to post a picture of the result.

Notes: The Kallax is from craigslist and is now a NANO Fiction  and cook book shelf, as well as a mini bar buffet/credenza. It sat too low on its own before but now, with the feet, it feels like a more substantial piece of furniture. It also grounds the huge unwanted dining room mirror and helps brighten up the dark space which is my apartment. Now I can cook, drink, and fill NANO orders, like a boss.

Contact Paper Disaster

January 17, 2015 by Kirby | 4 Comments

There is something disappointing about any apartment you move into. For me and this apartment it was the (excuse me:) doo-doo-brown, old-as-hell, water damaged kitchen and bathroom cabinets (and also the seemingly nonexistent mid-day natural light). The cabinets seemed to soak up all the light in the room rendering the kitchen dark and creepy. It didn’t help that some of the drawers were old and thickly swollen from water, use, or age.

I, of course, decided to do something about it. I emailed the apartment manager to see if I could paint. I knew they had installed new cabinets in other units and thought if this one was next then painting would be no big deal. But they said no to painting. Disappointed, I turned to the internet, and it seemed that some people were having an amazing time with contact paper. The paper was covering their ugly apartment fixtures and they were loving it!

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Monday Mania: Another Lampshade Rabbit Hole

December 30, 2014 by Kirby | 0 comments

LampsI don’t know know what my problem is with lamp shades. I don’t have a lot of them, I swear. But I picked this one (right) up the other day to try and make a pendant light out of for my bedroom. Our bedroom has no light or fan in it, so I thought I could make something that looked like a fixture but wasn’t actually hardwired to the ceiling. That didn’t happen though. I could never get it to look right. Instead I decided to take the shade to the “dining room” and give the uglyish dining room fixture (left) a bit of a facelift. Continue Reading →